5 Stages of Fear

Buckle up for the equivalent of a cinematic roller-coaster! Horror fans know the torturous emotions that await, but they keep coming back for more. While plot twists and scare tactics change, the viewer’s horror movie experience usually follows a familiar pattern. Who hasn’t fallen victim to the tranquil opening scene, only to be dragged through blood, guts and a hellish villain for the following two hours? If you’ve sat through a few horror films, you’ll recognize the anticipation, fear and defense mechanisms associated with horror films. Get your popcorn and relive the stages of watching a great horror movie. Of course this is, by no means, any sort of definitive list but it’s a good start… I think.

Pre-Movie Fear

You’ve read the reviews and talked to your friends. The consensus: you might not make it out of this one alive. Sometimes the anticipation is worth it than the real thing. As you buy candy and sit through previews, you’re preparing yourself for the worst. By the time the opening credits roll, your heart is pounding like you’ve just seen a ghost. Don’t worry, a pleasant opening scene will ease the tension.

The Calm Before the Storm

Pleasant, blissful and free of monsters, these opening scenes ease your senses before putting them through the ringer. Consider the opening scene in the 2012 horror hit “The Cabin in the Woods.” Five friends pack their bags for a fun-filled trip to a cabin off the beaten path. With drinks, food and the outdoors, what could go wrong? In a word: everything. If only those friends could have had an uninterrupted weekend relaxing. But that’s not what we came here to see …

Sheer Terror

Midway through the movie, you notice your fingers hurt from gripping the armrest too tight. If you love the horror, you’ve probably managed to forget that you’re in a movie. What’s happening on the screen is real, and it’s spine tingling. You take on the identity of the main character. It’s you chained up in Jigsaw’s labyrinth, and you feel every excruciating act. By now, the hair on the back of your neck is standing, and your body can’t handle the emotion. Why do you do this to yourself?

Inappropriate Laughter

Bad horror instantly becomes good comedy, and horror directors usually find a way to slip in a few laughs. Horror fans find reasons to laugh even without a punch line, though. It’s a defense mechanism against all stress and trauma on screen. We laugh to keep from crying, shouting or covering our eyes. When you feel like you haven’t taken a breath for a few scenes, it feels good to burst our when the monster from “The Ring” makes a funny face.

Euphoric Relief

At long last, it’s over. Even die-hard horror fans appreciate the relief when a terrifying film ends. Now is the chance to claim you knew what was going to happen the whole way and deny jumping when that shadow popped up. While your vitals return to human levels, you still might want to double check your home-security system before you go to bed. If the movie left its mark, you’ll be extra sensitive to sudden movements and shocking noises. And after you consider the consequences of these traumatic movies, you’ll be left with one question: When is the next one?

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The Way I See Things…

… may be changing. Soon. I think.

Glasses were never a part of the equation, or so I thought. Nothing is definitive, of course, until I actually make an appointment with an optometrist to decipher whether or not my new moniker would be “four eyes” to which I would respond, “I prefer, Clark Kent!” (without the physique and the superpowers)

I’m not sure whether or not the derogatory term for a person who wears glasses is even still used today but I suspect that a few old timers out there still coin the phrase every now and then, right? (probably not) I’ve noticed that I am starting to have to squint when looking at an oversized dry/erase board while at work and few other objects/words in the distance are (gulp) blurry/fuzzy. I suspect that the ethos is trying to tell me something (more likely its my eyes telling me and not some sort of spiritual manifestation).

This could not have come at a more perfect time; what with my getting back into reading and all! On the flip-side, I’ve been told that I look rather cool with glasses and quite dashing! (I’m looking at you biased wife). Now, to look for an affordable optometrist under my medical plan!

Mission: Accomplished – IT

As mentioned in a previous post (here), because of the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King‘s IT, I had the “itch” to get back into reading more. Specifically, I wanted to dive into the IT, as well as a few other King books. I have been a fan of King’s since I was a kid, not because of his books but, rather, because of his films! I know, I know – most of the novel adaptations do not live up to their literary predecessors but, I was a kid, and anyone deemed the master of horror gets a thumbs up from me all (most) of the time! Besides, can we say that all the adaptations were subpar? What with: Salem’s Lot, The Langoliers, Pet Sematary, Carrie, Christine, Firestarter, The Mist, Silver Bullet, Thinner, The Stand and The Shining (although Kubrick certainly took liberties)? I guess the answer to this question can be an astounding, Yes! With the exception  of Joyland, On Writing, and Nightshift, which featured probably my favorite Stephen king shorts, “The Boogyman“, (none of which had feature film adaptations) I can’t really say much to the film/TV adaptations compared to the novel/novella. These are the only King books that I’ve actually read despite the paperback versions of Blaze, Joyland, The Colorado Kid, Salem’s Lot, Night ShiftDifferent Seasons and Pet Sematary sitting on my shelf (or in a box) for years! All that is about to change. (more…)

My Little Cubby Cadet

My new “toy” came in and I was super-stoked. I’ve never owned, let alone, driven a riding mower so I was a bit “nervous” before firing this sucker up. I just didn’t want to break/run over anything! I gave it a spin and mowed the lawn with this baby and I have to say that, although I instantly fell in love, I need to get more accustomed to this thing as my first go at mowing the lawn was just OK. I need to get it to “excellent” and leave my lawn looking top-notch! 

My wife was bummed because, for some reason, she wanted to be witness to this momentous “event”. Likely, she wanted to take some pictures and videos of me riding the mower for a good laugh as she watched my body hop up, down and wiggle while trying to tame the beast like a cowboy riding a wild steer. To her I say, too bad! Although I’m sure the sight would be one to giggle. But, she will get to see me some time before the end of the summer, that’s for sure.  In due time… in due time! Until then, she’s just going to have to wait until the grass grows again.

On Reading…

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been able to lay back, kick my feet up and relax with a good book/e-reader on my lap. I’ve had the urge to dive back into reading lately but every time I get an iota of time that (sometimes ugly) thing rears its head up and rips the book from the grips of my hands – that “ugly” thing being, LIFE! Sure, maybe if I had a firmer grip on things (the book), I might be able to get through more than just a chapter or two. I believe, at the time of this writing, I have 2 or three books unfinished and still pending to be completed: Jazz 101 by John Szwad, The Haunting of Ashburn House by Darcy Oates and Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill). Not that I didn’t have any interest in any of these books. On the contrary, I just didn’t have the time to finish them.  (more…)

EUREKA! I’m Back!

I know, I know! You’re thinking, Where have you been?” Chances are, you’ re probably not thinking this (nor do you care) but, as you may have already guessed, I’m going to tell you anyway but, fear not, it will be the Cliff Notes version. That beautiful thing called life reared its ugly head again, full force and the past couple of months has been somewhat of of a rollercoaster. It all started with a death…

He was a childhood friend of mine and his name was (is) Manny. He was, at the time, the 90’s, my big bro’s best friend. We met and  we all formed a memorable childhood together. I will not bore you with the details but losing him had a profound effect on me. Memories of the times spent with him flooded both my mind and emotions and it took me away from a lot, one of which was this website.

I was also being torn apart by this very, very bad job that I thought (hoped) was a move for the better but it turned out to be soul-crushing and borderline depressing. I toughed it out for as long as I could but eventually, I lost that battle. There was, however, a silver-lining to all of this. I found a new job, much closer to home and in a much friendlier work environment. I could not have asked for anything better as I am in a much better place! So, here I am, back and eager to “blog” it up, get back to my vinyl and get back to taking more pics so, STAY TUNED!

When This Baby Hits 88 MPH…

(or that time I traveled through time)

Ever since my dad took me to see the glorious 1985 hit, Back to the Future on the big screen, my fascination with the concept of time travel has been captivated. Being a five-year old kid at the time, the concept of going backwards in time made little, to no sense whatsoever to my fragile and naive little mind. In reality, I was simply enamored by the DMC DeLorean and its wonderful display of flashing lights when that sucker hit 88 miles per hour! Still, I remember getting the basic gist of what was happening: young kid gets in trouble, accidentally travels through time, meets his parents, things go bad, kid has to fix something and somehow get back to the future! That was more than enough to get me to fall in love with this gem of a film. To this day, I swear to the heavens, the hells and to its heathens that I will one day own a DeLorean… oh yes, I will own a DeLorean! And, to this day, I don’t think I’m even close to owning one. Still, that never stops me from aspiring to own one.

Thirty years have passed since that fateful day my dad took me to see the film and, since then, I probably have seen it more times than I can count on my two hands (and feet). It has lead me down that proverbial rabbit hole that has geared me towards the viewing of many other time travel films, such as: Time Bandits, The Terminator, Time Rider, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, The Philadelphia Experiment, Flight of the Navigator to the more recent; The Time Machine, Primer, Timecrimes, The Time Traveler’s Wife (yep, that one too), Frequency, Hot Tub Time Machine (I know), Oblivion: Edge of Tomorrow, Safety Not Guaranteed, Project Almanac, Predestination, Looper and a slew of others! Having divulged myself in these films, there was a pestering question that always came to mind – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s asked themselves this question: What if? (more…)

RIP, My Dear Princess Leia

Say it ain’t so?! I am deeply saddened by the news of Carrie “Princess Leia” Fisher’s passing earlier today. The character is an icon in cinema history as well as a role model for young girls and women everywhere. Heck, my four year-old daughter looked up to her. A role model in that her character in Star Wars portrayed a no frills, ass-kicking, take names later – the picture of strength and compassion. Overcoming what seemed like a life plagued with trouble, she triumphed and share her story to inspire others. I never met you but you will always hold a place in my heart. Rest In Peace my dear Princess Leia.

You Want a “What” for Christmas?!

Earlier this year, Rayen asked for a stage for Christmas. My eyes widened; I broke out in a cold sweat, chills spread throughout my body like an unprecedented electric current and hives formed on my flesh. A stage? A stage?! My life flashed before my eyes! Of course, I kid.  What really came to mind was, challenge accepted!

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Wish You Were Here…

Ever since the birth of our daughter, Rayen, time alone with the wife has been rather, how should I put this, scarce.  I think I’m safe when I say that any parent can empathize with me on that one. In order to allow ourselves that much needed alone time, we have adopted a “rule” – have one family trip and one mommy/daddy trip a year. Pre-child era, we traveled some. It’s nothing to brag about but we simply liked to get away  from time to time having gone to places such as Florida, California, Quebec, Ontario, Montreal, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Paris, Barcelona, Rome – to name a few. The plan was to take an all-inclusive trip to the U.K. which would have brought us to Ireland, Scotland, and England. We searched and searched for great deals and we finally found a great package. The plan was set for later that year. Then, we got pregnant!

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False Alarm

It was a lazy day for us; we cleaned up around the house a bit, listened to music, danced, played in the backyard with our daughter and watched a movie. After the movie,  we went upstairs, climbed into bed and started to watch The Exorcist TV series by way of Hulu. Our daughter was in bed with us, watching an episode of whatever it is she watches on my iPad. Why was she even awake, you ask? I ask myself that very same question all the time. I had already watched six episodes of the TV series but, of course, my wife wanted to start watching, so, back to episode one we went. I tried to hang on to consciousness and watch along with her but I found myself dozing off.  At around 1:19 AM, I heard a noise in the near distance. I woke up with a jolt! I looked to my wife and my daughter and neither of their faces showed any semblance of worry  nor concern. I grabbed the remote control and hit the mute button where both my wife and I heard that noise that no one ever wants to wake up to, the sound of our home alarm going off!

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My “Home Theater” Project

I’ve always wanted a home theater. To have the cinematic experience right at home is a blessing: leather reclining theater seats, a wall projecting a film on a massive scale and surround sound to make your ears bleed, yes, this is what I want! And, finally, after years of dreaming up my idea of having a home entertainment room to dazzle friends and family, I have come to the forlorn conclusion that I will not have such a room. Well, not any time soon at least. But, I can still make a budget friendly (extremely friendly) home theater to entertain both family and friends as well as, more importantly, for my own enjoyment.

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Why Did The Shadow Cross The Road?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am one of the biggest skeptics out there, often fighting back the urge to roll my eyes when someone wants to tell me a “true” experience with the paranormal. To this, I usually scoff. Despite my skepticism and a recent freaky experience (click here to read that), I used to be a believer in all things paranormal and never batted an eye when someone related their story/experience to me. But, after years of nothing “happening”, lack of evidence (even while on “bonafide” ghost hunts) and just a growing interest in science and logic, ghosts and spirits became more of a thing of fairy-tales to me, mere campfire stories. True, I would like (love) to believe in the existence of ghosts but I find myself fighting that urge. It is something hard to do being that I am virtually surrounded by believers, each making their case only to be met by a counter-argument. My argument is usually simple and to the point, “Show me the evidence.” A weak argument? Yes, but effective.

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Interview with Drew Daywalt

I dug up this old interview I conducted a few years ago for a horror website I ran with film director and writer Drew Daywalt. Since then, Mr. Daywalt has become a successful children’s book writer and authored The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.

Do you like to be scared?

If you answered yes, then there is, without a doubt, a need and/or must to check out Drew Daywalt and his horror micro-terrors. Helming from the shadows and depths that is Fewdio, Drew has stepped out into the light and has developed his own repertoire in The Daywalt Fear Factory that has been worthy for what, I would say, is suffice to call a cult following. (more…)

Collecting & Stuff

I consider myself a collector of an assortment of things. Horder? No. But, then again, if I was a hoarder, I would be in denial, right? According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), you might be a hoarder if you experience the following symptoms and behaviors:

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A Nightmare on my Street

It’s been quite some time since I’ve had a nightmare. Some of my more vivid night terrors occurred shortly after I was diagnosed with MS. It could have been the fear of this newly discovered disease in my body, or, it could have been the meds I was on. Whatever it was, it induced some of the more disturbing dreams I’ve ever had! I would wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat and in a panic. They were so real that deciphering the difference between dreaming and reality was difficult until I awoke on my bed and my senses adjusted to my surroundings. That was a little over six years ago and I have not been as disturbed in my sleep since then… until last night. (more…)

John Carpenter and the Large Orange Bag

July 8, 2016 was a day of anticipation because it was the day of the concert. What concert? You ask. The John Carpenter concert. When I relayed this news to a fellow co-worker, his first reaction was not of excitement, much like my own, but, instead he blurted out with what seemed like great enthusiasm, “Who?!” I did not fault him for if you are not a horror fan, you may not be familiar with John Carpenter. For those of you not in the know, he is considered one of the more prolific horror directors of my time – my time being the 1980s. With such films such as the classic Halloween, The Thing (1982), Christine, The Fog, Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, Prince of Darkness and many, many others, John Carpenter’s horror filmography was one to marvel! On top of being a director, he is also known as a film composer scoring most, if not all, of his films. I was beyond excited to finally get to see him perform, live and in the flesh playing themes from many of his film music. In addition, he was slated to play a few tracks from his more recent albums, Lost Themes I & II.

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I’m The Rocket Man!

Hudson Valley Blog: I’m the Rocket Man!

Space: the final frontier! Ah yes, the voyages of the Starship Enterprise of the famed Star Trek series—you know, to boldly go where no man has gone before and all that jazz. I’ll just say right off the bat and maybe garner (some may say warrant) mean-spirited sentiments that although Star Trek is an excellent and expanded series, I am more of a Star Wars guy. Even though the new Don of the Star Wars franchise ruffled a lot of feathers with his vision of the Star Trek galaxy I dare I say that I really like his take on it. To be fair, it could be because I know next to nothing of what the Star Trek universe consists of, so please, be gentle.

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